Last night, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, and Minister for Justice Yaacov Naaman applauded along with the proud relatives and friends of those involved in such dedicated work who were receiving the awards.This ceremony ensured that the enormous efforts of those who work long hours - often voluntarily - to improve the rights of those who have nowhere to turn and no official voice receive recognition and reward.
The ceremony was held at the President's house in Jerusalem. Three prizes were awarded, one for the work of an individual, one for an organisation and one for work within the State's civil service. The prizes were presented respectively to Lawyer, Nomi Levenkron, once the Legal Director of the Hotline for Foreign Workers who specialises in human trafficking, sex trade and prostitution.
Shoshana Strauss a lawyer at the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour,
and the Organisation 'Messilah
' (the center for assistance and information for the community of foreigners in Israel) represented by Tamar Schwartz.
All candidates were praised for their years of work and dedication in their efforts to improve and promote human rights for foreign workers and refugees.
In his speech President Shimon Peres said:
"Human trafficking is the modern day slavery. These people are forced into 'slavery' due to economic or personal problems; They are seen as objects and not as humans. Israel has many achievements in the fight against human trafficking that are important and is marked one of the top countries in the world fighting against this type of organised crime."
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that "Human trafficking or this 'modern day slavery' is a shocking concept, that seems to belong to a darker age in humanity and to a different century not necessarily the 20th century that involves hard violence and death."
Netanyahu continued by adding that he has heard about and seen photographs of children and incidences of human trafficking that are so shocking that he could not discuss them during the ceremony and Israel is doing what it can and is having positive results to prevent and reduce the incidences.